Kohli's sublime 235 gives India 231 lead

Innings India 579 for 7 (Kohli 235, Vijay 136, Jayant 104) lead England 400 by 231 runs
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With his sublime 235 off 340 balls, with 25 fours and a six, Virat Kohli became the first Indian to three double-centuries in a year. Jayant Yadav became the first of his countrymen to smash a ton from No. 9 and their 241-run partnership for the eighth wicket was a national record as well. England, under the weight of all that, in front of a loud and partisan Mumbai crowd, wilted.

The first session on the fourth day was important for the visitors. India’s overnight lead was 51 and even after 272.1 overs of cricket, the turn and bounce at Wankhede stadium was quick and sharp. They had got seven wickets and if the remaining three had fallen quickly, Alastair Cook and his men may have felt they still had a chance. In 34 overs on the fourth morning, there wasn’t a single breakthrough. When India were finally all out after lunch, they had pulled ahead by 231 runs.

The one that the fans cared about most came off the fourth ball of the 165th over. A gentle little flick, all along the ground, to the left of midwicket for Kohli’s 200. Smart phones were out to record the moment. Anil Kumble’s camera didn’t miss it either. A little slice of history to put in the back pocket.

In all of Test cricket, only five men have made three or more double-hundreds in a year. Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Brendon McCullum and now Kohli, who regaled the Sunday crowd with his signature strokes. A crunching straight drive in the first over of the day converted his fourth successive hundred into a 150-plus score. In the 162nd, he only rolled his wrists on a straight delivery, but it skipped away to the backward square leg boundary. The timing was such that it beat England’s best fielder Ben Stokes, and the placement was such that it was well to the right of the man.

Kohli batted for over eight hours. The concentration it must have taken, the mental and physical strain he must have felt to play an innings of such quality on a difficult pitch was finally on view as he walked off for lunch with a tired smile on his face. In the dressing room, everyone from the support staff to his team-mates patted him on the back.

Kohli went past Rahul Dravid’s tally of 602 for the most runs by an Indian in a series against England – and he has one more Test left to improve on his tally. When he came out in the second session, he biffed Chris Woakes back over his head for a six and ran like mad the next ball for a single next ball.

Kohli was the ninth wicket to fall when his lofted drive carried to deep extra cover. Plenty of England players came to congratulate him, including Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. All at the Wankhede were on their feet. No Indian captain has ever made more than his 235. He has amassed 1200 Test runs in 2016 at an average of 80 and a strike-rate of 60.

At the other end was Jayant, with his upright stance and high backlift, using the crease beautifully against pace and spin. He began by scything a half-volley from Adil through the covers and then the ensuing short ball was cut behind point. He was more than a match for an inswinging yorker from Jake Ball in the 149th over and the good length delivery that followed was driven to the cover boundary with some style.

Jayant seems to think like a top-order batsman. He spotted mid-on was up with Moeen Ali bowling around the wicket in the 155th over, danced down the track and lofted the ball over the fielder’s head. Alastair Cook put a long-on in for the next ball and the batsman tapped a single to him. Jayant outscored Kohli in the first hour, 42 runs to 36 en route to sweeping records of his own. He had the highest score at No. 9 (211) and was part of the largest eighth-wicket partnership (392) in Indian first-class cricket. Having replaced the man with whom he put on that partnership – Haryana’s Amit Mishra – he now holds the corresponding records for India in Test cricket. Jayant was stumped by Rashid for 104 in the 177th over, looking to lift a ball from around the wicket over cover.

Having allowed the opposition’s eighth wicket to post more than 200 runs for the first time since 1908, England were able to knock India’s No. 10 and 11 quickly enough. Having conceded runs at 4.44 per over on Sunday, they may well have conceded the match, after having made 400 in the first innings.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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